Does your business password contain any word from the dictionary or a sequence of numbers that means something to you? A majority of cyber attacks are the result of passwords that have either been compromised or were just too weak to begin with. One study even estimated as many as 67 percent of businesses were using compromised passwords.
Will a compromised password allow a hacker access to your bank account or sensitive customer information? Thankfully, a weak password is a simple fix. Here are five ways small businesses can help prevent cyber attacks with password best practices.
Start with a strong password.
The easiest way to prevent a compromised password is to create an off-the-wall password without a recognisable phrase or set of numbers in it. If the password is going to be hard for you to remember, it’s going to be hard for hackers to guess the password. Don’t use any word that you can find in the dictionary and stay away from number sequences that mean something to you — like a birthday or address. Avoid using the same password for multiple log-ins.
Consider a password manager.
Worried you won’t be able to remember that random jumble of letters and numbers, with a different random jumble for each account? The Australian Cyber Security Centre suggests businesses look into password manager systems. With these systems, you only need to remember one master password to log-in to the password manager, but each account has a different, randomly generated password. While ideal for many, you’d need to protect that master password, including not sharing that information with employees.
Take advantage of features like two-factor authentication.
Every platform is a bit different in the tools that they offer to protect your accounts, but a common option is two-factor authentication. This option requires an extra password, usually sent to your smartphone via text, whenever you log in to a new device. If your password is stolen, the hacker will have trouble logging in on a different computer without also gaining access to your smartphone.
Work with your employees.
Maybe you’ve always had great, hard-to-guess password — but it just takes one employee using password123 for your business to be compromised. Teach your employees the same best practices for passwords, if they set their own passwords. On shared accounts, share the password on a physical piece of paper rather than electronically, if possible.
Consider a dark web monitoring service.
Many hacks involve more than just one hacker — passwords are commonly sold on the dark web, or sites hidden from search engines. That opens businesses up to multiple hacks from across the globe. Some services will monitor the dark web for you, offering a quick heads up when your data is up for grabs.
If your password is compromised, hackers could access anything from banking to your customer’s data. Simple password tips can help prevent a cyber attack.